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EMERGING ENTREPRENEURS: Pair of trainers help guide healthy habits wherever you go

Katie Schlueter and Lexi Machuga launched Elevate Nutrition & Training in August

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November 1, 2023

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – For Katie Schlueter and Lexi Machuga, fitness and health have always been a big part of their lives – and is what inevitably brought them together.

“We met about five years ago – we actually competed against one another in CrossFit,” Schlueter said. “We’ve stayed in touch over the years and became friends.”

Little did the pair know, their shared passion for fitness, healthy lifestyle focus and eventual friendship would lead to their own business.

From friends to business partners
Machuga owns Lozen Fitness in Cedarburg – which she started in 2017 – and at the time, was also working for a nutrition company.

Schlueter worked as a teacher for eight years but said she decided to go back to school in 2020 for exercise science to further a passion she discovered as a CrossFit coach.

When she graduated with her master’s degree in applied exercise science, Schlueter said she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with it.

And then, Schlueter said Machuga reached out to her with a proposition.

“She said, ‘I kind of want to be my own boss,’” Schlueter said.

And the two began discussing what a partnership could look like.

Schlueter – who has a background of providing fitness coaching to women during pregnancy and postpartum – said Machuga found she enjoys working with women in menopause, and thought the two would be a great fit as business partners.

“That’s when we sat down and met with a business coach,” Schlueter said. “(We) wrote up a business plan and went from there.”

After solidifying a business plan, finding a niche, creating a mission statement and working through legal agreements and other paperwork, Schlueter said she and Machuga knew they didn’t want to start anything that overlapped with their professional lives – which led to the idea of remote coaching.

“Lexi (is) in Cedarburg and owns (Lozen), and I work at a gym in Green Bay,” she said. “We were (both) already working in a brick and mortar, so (having) Elevate completely online (made sense).”

From there, Schlueter said they started a website and social media pages and officially launched Elevate Nutrition & Training – a 100% remote health and fitness coaching business – in August.

Fully remote, services
Elevate’s primary focus, Schlueter said, is nutrition coaching.

“With nutrition coaching, our focus for that is teaching and giving people the tools to learn how to approach food in a healthy way,” she said. “We find that a lot of times, the reason behind people interested in hiring a nutrition coach in the first place is the accountability aspect.”

Elevate also offers remote programming for training, such as weightlifting, powerlifting and functional fitness. 

Anyone, Schlueter said, is welcome to sign up to be a client.

“We work with everyone, anyone that would be interested,” she said. “We have men, women, high school (students)… my oldest client is 78.”

The advantage to a remote business, Schlueter said, is the ability for her and Machuga to make connections in both the Green Bay and Milwaukee areas.

Currently, between the two of them, Schlueter said they have 12 clients.

Since Elevate is remote, she said, when a client fills out the initial forms, she and Machuga like to meet via Zoom or Google Meet to both form that personal connection and come up with a plan that best works for the client.

“We work with that person for a minimum of three months,” Schlueter said. “Each week, we do several text messages or voice check-ins, and then there’s one formal 20- to 30-minute check-in per week (over the phone, Zoom or Google Meet).”

Each week, Schlueter said clients have a focus – whether that be learning about protein and why we need it to sleep health or getting enough exercise.

“We’re putting a lot of responsibility onto the client,” she said. “We’re not going to write up a plan and say, ‘follow this word for word.’ The goal is eventually that they don’t need us anymore, and they feel confident in the choices they make on a daily basis.”

Client response
As Elevate hits three months of being in business, Schlueter said the feedback from clients thus far has been great. 

“It’s been cool to see some people that struggled at the beginning and… weren’t quite sure what to eat, now get more and more confident in the choices they make,” she said. “And they’re starting to see progress on their goals… It’s fun to hear the things they can do from week to week, and the things they’re able to accomplish.”

Schlueter and Machuga also offer free consultations to make sure it’s a good fit both for the potential client and for them.

“That makes a big difference in the world of coaching,” Schlueter said. “It’s important we as coaches feel like a client is going to be a right fit, and it’s super important a client feels like a coach is the right fit.”

Elevating above the rest
Compared to other nutrition and training businesses, Schlueter said she believes there are two things that set Elevate apart from the rest – its mission and focus on women’s health.

Elevate’s mission, Schlueter said, is to teach people how to live and eat healthy themselves.

“We’re not in it to make money by having a cookie-cutter process everyone can follow,” she said. “(We’re) focusing on the individual person and what they need in their lives – So teaching people how healthy living fits into their lifestyle.”

With their combined previous knowledge in the area, Schlueter said Elevate’s focus on women’s health – specifically those in menopause or during pregnancy and postpartum – also makes them stand out.

“That’s a pretty new idea in terms of working with women… (it isn’t) talked about in the nutrition and training world,” she said. “Lexi has a certification in nutrition during menopause – I’m working on my certification for that – and then I have a certification on working with nutrition and training for pregnant women and postpartum women. That was something I found I was passionate about because I’ve been through (pregnancy and postpartum) twice. And for myself, when I was looking for answers… there wasn’t a lot of information out there.”

Looking to the future
Since opening, Schlueter said she and Machuga haven’t discussed big goals for the future quite yet, but said they would like to grow the business to the point where they can hire more coaches.

“We’ve talked about growing it big enough that we can take on more people that are passionate about the things we are and help more people,” she said. 

Schlueter and Machuga are also working on other ways to get Elevate’s name out – such as creating merchandise.

?Most importantly, Schlueter said, she and Machuga want to continue to show their clients that they care about their goals and passions.

“(We want to) show our clients (and) do these little things for our clients that let them know we truly care about them,” she said. 

To learn more about Elevate Nutrition & Training, visit its Facebook page.

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